Since my last diary column I’m happy to report after a slow start to the season my performances have really picked up. I’ve ran two or three of the three fastest performances of my career in Paris - where I set a personal best - and in London and now it is all about putting the finishing touches to my preparations ahead of the Olympic Games.
"Training has gone well since competing in Oslo, so it was nice to back that up in competition. Paris went very well, I ran 47.84 but I was a little disappointed with how I performed in London. True, I ran the third fastest time of my career but I felt I didn’t slacken off in training between the two meetings and that may have had an impact.
"Javier Culson beat me fair and square in both races and I applaud him. Javier is an athlete I have a lot of respect for and who has always been gracious in defeat in the past.
"Yet although I was beaten, I know the progress I have made. Six weeks ago in Oslo I was one second behind Culson yet six weeks later I was only 0.06 down. I regard Javier as the best in the world through the first five hurdles and I believe I am the best hurdler in the world through the last five hurdles. I need to really work on the first part of my race in training and I think I can find three or four tenths of a second. If I can do this and carry the speed through for the rest of the race I know I can run faster.
"If you look at the performances this season then on paper the battle for gold is between Javier and myself. But remember I was ranked only sixth going into the World Championships last year and I won the gold medal, so lots of athletes could come through and spring a surprise. I’ve noticed Angelo Taylor is running faster and he will be a real threat. While I would also not write off South Africa’s LJ Van Zyl, he may not have competed much this season but he is another athlete I really respect.
"The reality of competing at an Olympic Games will come a step closer on Saturday when I pick up my official GB kit at Loughborough on Saturday. The following day I’ll fly out for a week to ten days to Portugal with the rest of the GB squad before flying back into London to move into the Olympic Village three or four days before my competition starts.
"It will be nice to get away from the Olympic hype for a while in Portugal, although besides the training I have another important assignment in Monte Gordo. As the recently announced captain of the GB athletics team at the Olympic Games I will be expected to make a speech in front of the rest of the squad. I’ve learned a lot from listening to other team captains and I’ve already made a few notes as to what I’d like to say. I will finalise my speech when I’m out there – which will last no longer than 15 minutes – and I promise it will be as open and honest as possible.
"During the Games itself there is only so much a team captain can do, but I’ll try to make sure everyone is following the guidelines of expected behaviour and be as positive as possible.
"As for the Olympic Games, we are now only two-and-half weeks away from my First Round heats on the 400m Hurdles which take place on the opening morning of the athletics programme. I’ll be careful not to push it too hard in training or risk injury and illness in the next couple of weeks and I hope to compete in the 'Greatest Show on Earth’ in peak physical shape.
I can’t wait.
"Until next time,"
Mauro Vinicius da Silva